CAPs critical to Navigator success

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We have not talked much about the federal health care law’s Consumer Assistance Programs (CAPs), but they are key to helping Navigators deal with tricky insurance problems and questions - something families who have children with serious emotional challenges know only too well and will likely face as they sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

This past week Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and nine other US Senators sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pointing out the critical role these programs will play in open enrollment this fall and advocating for the extension of funding for these programs which are currently scheduled to expire in August.

CAPs are up and running in 22 states now. They had about $20 million in federal funding last year. In an interview with Politico, Christine Barber, senior policy analyst at Community Catalyst, which works closely with groups assisting in the health care law’s outreach said that "HHS is the only source of funds for some of the programs, which may be forced to close if the funding isn’t renewed, she said, and others are working to cobble together alternative funding on their own." She went on to say that "CAPs also help with general outreach but are in the law as the places navigators would refer people to for help with more complex issues."

Here is the text of the letter to Secretary Sebelius from the group of US Senators that details the critical need for these programs:

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